On the Ice Planet
by Julia Rios
The ice is full of lies,
of leaves and reeds,
and bubbles fine and pure
like fairy dust,
or the seeds of stars.
The ice tells you there is life here
if you dig hard enough,
if you just apply heat,
if you trust in the cosmic mythos
you heard every night growing up.
You mother read you the stories,
and they were beautiful stories,
full of wonder and light and promise for the future.
But they'd have to be, to get you to come here.
Your hands are too cold to tremble;
the heating system in your suit has malfunctioned,
and soon you will be another lie,
buried under the next sheen of deadly calm.
It will hurt, or it won't,
depending on whose accounts you believe.
It already does, but not as much as you'd feared,
and because there is nothing else to do, you dig.